This week’s showpiece dessert must take the chocolate cheesecake to new heights. Tomas’ team has turned to Greece for inspiration, conveniently discovering that the ancient Greeks ate a form of cheesecake – where would we be without Wikipedia? (I also learnt that an old word for cheesecake was placenta. Let’s not go there.) They’ve crafted a decorative chocolate lyre that looks like a pair of horns. Stephen’s team’s showpiece is an Aztec-inspired creation with a chocolate sundial, topped with what looks like a pair of horns. Karl says his design doesn’t represent anything, but it’s decorated with sugar wings that look remarkably like… no prizes for guessing.
Stephen’s Aztec dessert has a chocolate sablé base with cream cheese and a Peruvian chocolate mousse. There’s a lot of precision work – shaping, smoothing, piping, balancing – before the precious chocolate box is sacrificed on a rainforest altar of AstroTurf.
Claire, who has a very individual vocabulary of critique, says ‘it eats really well’ and there’s no fooling Cherish’s laser-sharp palate as she adds, ‘If I taste the cheese on its own, I can taste cheese.’ Blasé Benoit says he has no problem with it, then goes on to detail his problem – ‘I have a slice, not a plated dessert.’ His slice of dessert sits on a plate – I’m confused.
The trio from Wales are packing a lot into their white chocolate and mascarpone cheesecake, including orange jelly, orange streusel and a ginger beer panna cotta. Sadly, it’s judged to be an entremet that’s ‘a million miles away from a chocolate cheesecake’. Ffion cries, ‘I want Mary Berry.’
Tomas’s chocolate cheesecake has a hazelnut sponge, topped with chocolate soil and a chocolate cream cheese. Cherish thinks it’s missing something vital – ‘It needs more chocolate cheesecake.’
Stephen and his team manage to hold onto their lead and go through to the semis. Cherish consoles Tomas and his team by saying ‘come back next year’, which is not the way things normally work on Bake Off and downright cruel if there’s no second series.
So next week it’s the first of the two semi-finals – a chance to see some familiar faces again and to look forward to some not-so-familiar challenges. Oh, and let’s hope for a brief respite from all this sugar! If it’s nicely plated, does a mini pork pie count as pâtisserie?